Kingsmen Tennis SCIAC Championships Preview
CLU looking to win first ever conference title
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Coming off one of the most successful regular seasons in school history, the No. 4 ranked Cal Lutheran men’s tennis team will be looking for its first conference title this weekend at the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Tennis Championships hosted by Whittier College. The tournament begins Friday, May 3 and runs through Saturday, May 4.
The 2013 Kingsmen tennis team went 16-3 overall and 6-1 in the SCIAC. Of the 16 wins, 10 of the came against ranked opponents including an upset of No. 3 Williams College on March 20. Competing in the always tough SCIAC, Cal Lutheran scored victories over all but No. 1 ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Leading the way is Division III’s No. 1 ranked singles player in Nicholas Ballou. The 2012 NCAA National runner-up went 20-0 this season including wins over three of the top five ranked singles players. Ballou is also coming off a singles title at the Ojai Tennis Tournament, the second year in a row he had won it.
Competing in the No. 2 singles spot is CLU’s all-time wins leader in Ray Worley. The No. 6 ranked singles player in the west region is 16-3 this season including a perfect 6-0 mark in SCIAC play.
First-year transfer Alex Nichols will fill the No. 3 slot for the Kingsmen. The junior from Bakersfield, Calif. is 14-5 this season while being No. 22 in the west region.
Connor Treacy, the lone underclassmen on the starting six for CLU, will play in the No. 4 spot during the tournament. The sophomore from Venice, Calif. is 8-5 on the year and recently advanced to the round of the 32 at the Ojai Tennis Tournament.
Senior Thomas Millet will compete as the No. 5 while transfer Devon Belcher will play as the No. 6 to round out the CLU singles lineup.
During the doubles portion of the tournament, Ballou and Worley will look to defend their 2012 championship. The No. 1 ranked duo is 18-1 this year and fresh off a win in the finals of the Ojai Tennis Tournament.
Nichols and Treacy will team up to form the No. 2 doubles pairing for the Kingsmen. Playing together for the first time this season, Nichols and Treacy combined to go 8-4.
Finally, Millet and Marcelo Sousa, CLU’s No. 3 doubles team, will look to build off a first round win at last year’s championship. This season the two went 11-6 overall with a 3-2 SCIAC record.
If Cal Lutheran wants to claim its first conference title in school history, it will have to uproot the top ranked Stags. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has won the last seven conference championships and boasts a 23-3 record this season. Also ranked are No. 12 Redlands and No. 22 Pomona-Pitzer while Whittier spent part of the season in the top 25.
The second seeded Kingsmen begin their quest for the SCIAC title against the seventh seeded Chapman Panthers at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. Should it win, Cal Lutheran will advance to the semi-finals at 2:00 p.m. The final is slated for Saturday at 10:00 a.m.